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 Post subject: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:58 pm 
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I've seen several people ask over the years how to replace front wheel bearings. I was doing another set this morning and took some pictures.

This is for how to do them off the car. They make tools to do them on the car. I tried using the "Hub Tamer" on my 1st NYG at school and the damn thing broke.

Tools needed:
Shop press (mine is a 12-ton)
Various sized blocks to stack up. Need some metal ones, but can get by with some wood ones too. You'll definitely want at least 2 metal ones for the top layer.
Various sized cylinders with different OD's. Cheapo HF impact sockets work great
Small flat blade screwdriver (95-97ish) or 13 mm wrench (97ish-newer)

Removal:

Stack up some blocks to get the knuckle to sit level with hub facing down. I use the 2 arms for the caliper on one side, and the tie-rod arm for the other side. It's gotta flat spot that works good. Top ones should be metal, if they are wood, the knuckle will dig in and cause problems.

Image

Impact sockets:

Image

Find an impact socket that has an OD that fits inside the inner race of the bearing. Put socket in center of hub where splines are so it pushes on outside edge of hub.

Image

Press it out. The hub will fall out the bottom. Likely with the inner race attached. This is what you'll end up with:

Image

Pull the inner race off the hub. I use my 3-jaw puller and something to push on center of hub. I have an old idler pulley that's just got the center part. Sorry no pic.

Remove bearing retainer. On 95-97ish models, it's a snap ring. Can work it out with a flat blade screwdriver:

Image

Image

Image

On 97ish and newer, it's a steel plate with 3 bolts. You can remove the bolts before or after pressing out hub. It's easier after:

Image
Now to remove rest of bearing from knuckle. 2 ways to stack blocks:

Image

Image

2nd way is much easier. Make sure the plates are spread just right so they push on as much of the knuckle as possible, and allow bearing to come out bottom.

Image

Find a much bigger socket and push it out. Sometimes they can be a biotch. This one was, but it has probably been in for 15 years. It'll probably groan and pop but it'll work it's way out.

Image

Image

Here's what your old bearing will probably look like. Occasionally the inner race won't stay on hub, I've had it happen maybe 1-2 times. Usually it comes out like this.

Image

Bearing is out. SAVE THESE PIECES.

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Last edited by chipdogg on Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:58 pm 
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Installation:

Installation is much easier on the press. Take some blocks and stack them up so you can lay knuckle down on them level. Put new bearing in bore. Take old bearing and put on the new bearing with the exposed balls down. This ensures you will push on only the outer race. You NEVER want to press in any way that would push the ball bearings inside against their races. You'll have a noisy bearing right away. Since this step is pushing the outer race into the knuckle, you want to only push on the outer race. Using old bearing ensures you are only pushing on outer race of new bearing. Who cares what you do to old one, it's junk already.

This side down

Image

Image

Press it in. Watch carefully and watch to make sure it goes in straight. Once it's started, it usually goes in easy. If it starts to go crooked, release pressure and move it around so you push on the high side till it goes in straight. Should look like this when done. You'll know it's in when the press stops moving. If you are fancy enough to have a gauge, the needle will go up.

Image

Image

Reinstall retainer. Either the bolt on ring, or the snap ring. Make sure to clock the bolt-on ring properly. There is a slot cut out that matches a slot on knuckle for easy wheel stud removal/install later if needed.

Now time to press in the hub. Same goes as above for the races. The hub will be pressed into the inner race. If you just toss the hub on and press without supporting the inner race, you'll have a noisy bearing. Find something that's the same size as the inner race. What's that? The old inner race is the exact same size? Good thing you saved it.

Put on plate like this:

Image

Put knuckle on it. Look to make sure the whole knuckle is being held up by the inner race:

Image

Image

Now put hub in bearing. Big socket that fits inside hole by splines.

Image

Put some pressure on the socket. Check to be sure you are supporting the inner race properly. You should be able to move the knuckle back and forth with ease. (I took pics after it was already pressed in. There is still pressure on hub, I can rotate the knuckle easily back and forth).

Image

Image

Press it in, should look like this:

Image

You are done, put it back on the car.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 5:24 pm 
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Thanks!

Another sticky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I yanked so many i had a removal tool, just a whack or two and they fly out:
Image

You can also slice (dremel) inner bearing off:
Image

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:18 am 
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Right on time! About to under take this myself yet I don't have a press. Probably going to take the stuff to a machine shop and have them press it though.

*bought a press for this task. Also got the bearing push tools from harbor freight. Very helpful. Once you have it all apart. Freeze the bearing and hub separately for about an hour. Heat the steering knuckle with a heat gun and drop the frozen bearing in. Then use the heat gun to *warm* up the bearing, not heat it. Then press in the frozen hub. Easy peasy.

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Last edited by Parajoe on Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:27 am 
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Thanks for the write-up, Chip, and for the handy home-made tool pic, Uptown.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:30 pm 
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Nice Write Up.

I'd definitely use it if I had neon knuckles.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:48 pm 
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I can vouche for uptowns dremel cut.

i cut through the part stuck on the hub is 2 places and hit it with a well placed chisel and it falls right off.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:29 pm 
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chromebeast wrote:
I can vouche for uptowns dremel cut.

i cut through the part stuck on the hub is 2 places and hit it with a well placed chisel and it falls right off.


I've done similar before on stuff, but there's enough of a lip and it's not stuck on too bad where you can get a 3-jaw puller on it.

Ted, your tool looks like it'd work great for getting the hub out, but what about the rest of the bearing? I'd say 1/2 of the ones I've done require alot more force to get out of the knuckle than what that could provide. The snap ring one in the pics above didn't really wanna come out.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:39 pm 
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Great write-up Chip. Thanks.







chipdogg wrote:
put it back on the car.


How you do that? :grin:

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:51 pm 
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Bearing splitter cost 25 dollars at harbor frieght. Good tool for getting off stuck inner races.

I also press the bearings in a different way. I put the bearing flat on the plate, and then press the knuckle over it using a steel plate about the size of the flat surface on the back side of the knuckle.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:27 pm 
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You can also do it with no press.. Did mine on my last 3 cars with a chisel, hammer, a rag, a block of wood, and a LOT of patients but it works. Not the best way but if you can't afford a press/or have the space.. And dont want to pay a shop 50+ to do it for you it works.


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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:40 pm 
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Bearings and races - not something you want to hammer on. Unless you want to practice doing it again shortly.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:24 am 
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Vitor wrote:
Bearings and races - not something you want to hammer on. Unless you want to practice doing it again shortly.

Did this on my Mom's '66. (u-joint)
When Dad got home, he was like, 'what' (in whatever 1970's terms) but it worked.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:34 am 
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Hammer is not the correct tool to replace this type of wheel bearing.

:negative:

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:02 am 
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cameron770 wrote:
You can also do it with no press.. Did mine on my last 3 cars with a chisel, hammer, a rag, a block of wood, and a LOT of patients but it works. Not the best way but if you can't afford a press/or have the space.. And dont want to pay a shop 50+ to do it for you it works.


You could do it with a fat lady sitting on them too. The point of taking all these pictures was to show the PROPER way to install them. I've seen many people press them in wrong and warranty the bearings because they screwed them up by pressing on the inner race. Or pounding them in.

The press I have is only $100, harbor freight ones work just fine for this. A wheel bearing is $40 or so. If you screw up 3, you paid for a press. It takes up very little room too.

Although I'd love to have the 100 ton press that one of my customers has in their maintenance shop. Electric motor on the pump, and a variable valve controls the flow with a lever. Holy balls does that make everything go super smooth.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:51 am 
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This was a good thread ruined by a cheap neon owner. Now every new neon guy is going to get the biggest hammer they can find, some white oak scrap chunks, and a box of sparklers to press in their own bearings!

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:32 am 
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Jacob did an excellent write-up, some of us aren't cheap, just don't have any cash.

Bearing will certainly withstand a lot of hammering, especially with wood as an intermediary.

Cheap is when you have a choice.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:58 pm 
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The group of car owners who cry about starting the crank pulley with a hammer are the same ones who will pound a wheel bearing in.

Amazing. :dunno:

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:49 pm 
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IDK why no one mentioned this...... But What about Heat The Entire Knuckle in your oven (400) for an hour or So... Have you wheel bearings & Hub in the freezer the night before.. They Should Plop right In, Of course you still need to have them pressed out but I much rather prefer this method then beating and pressing them in.


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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:52 pm 
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HaH! "Mah! What's for dinner? Wheel hub, the bearings in the ice box!" :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Sparky The 98 Neon wrote:
HaH! "Mah! What's for dinner? Wheel hub, the bearings in the ice box!" :lol:


Lol it works man the power of thermodynamics!!!!!!!!!! :grin:


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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Again I took the pictures to show the (a) proper way to install wheel bearings. Doing it your way, how would you go about installing the hub into the bearing once it's in the knuckle? There's 3 pieces, and they need to be put together a certain way to prevent damage to the bearings by pressing the balls against the races.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:30 am 
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chipdogg wrote:
Again I took the pictures to show the (a) proper way to install wheel bearings. Doing it your way, how would you go about installing the hub into the bearing once it's in the knuckle? There's 3 pieces, and they need to be put together a certain way to prevent damage to the bearings by pressing the balls against the races.


24 Hours Prior... Hub + Wheel bearing in freezer.

Bake knuckle @ 400 for an hour or so.

Drop bearing in.

Reheat knuckle for an hour or so

Plup the hub in.

YES, your way is the right way. But this is the next best alternative and sure is way better then beating and chizzling it in


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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:34 am 
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You know there are seals n lubricants such in the bearing that may not like getting baked at 400 degrees.

I would not recommend anyone do that.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Vitor wrote:
You know there are seals n lubricants such in the bearing that may not like getting baked at 400 degrees.

I would not recommend anyone do that.


My thoughts exactly.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:15 am 
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$150 at Harbor Freight so that you can not only do wheel bearings, but also bushings, LCA ball joints, and other various maintenance/performance procedures correctly? Not a bad deal at all in my book. Plus the presses from Harbor Freight mostly bolt together, so if you don't have a lot of room, just take it apart to store it when you are done. They aren't exactly hard to assemble, and unless you are doing a lot of work on a regular basis, you won't need it very often at all, maybe a few times a year.

It's still a heck of a lot cheaper than paying someone else to do it, or trying to do it a hack way and end up needing to replace the bearing a lot sooner than you should have.

I'm hoping to get one someday, but I'm also planning on the Shadow upgrade to get better axles and bolt in bearing assemblies. I'll still need it for ball joints and other various things for the car and around the house.

Thanks for the visual how to Chip! I love all the good information I can get on this board!

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Assembled mine hardly takes up any room. Like 2.5' wide, and less than a foot deep. Maybe 4 feet tall.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:59 pm 
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Yeah, but I've got limited space in my garage, it's a small 2 car garage with 2 cars in it.., barely enough room for my small roller tool chest and some crap around the edges. I could put it in my basement though, plenty of room down there.

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:12 am 
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on sale 130$

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-ton-shop-press-33497.html

heres a 6 ton for 70$

http://www.harborfreight.com/6-ton-a-frame-bench-shop-press-1666.html

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 Post subject: Re: How to replace front wheel bearings
PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:20 pm 
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Thanks for the write-up, helpfull info.
I need to replace my ball joints and bearings shortly.

And thanks for the heads up on the press at HF, my roomies rebuiding his 85 corola from the ground up and is going to need the press too.

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